The Airing of Grievances
Thursday, December 02, 2004
A few weeks ago, a nephew of mine hit me up with a magazine subscription drive for his high school. Now, I try to help out all my nieces and nephews with their various fund-raising efforts and I had just hooked one of his cousins up with a two year renewal to my Atlantic Monthly subscription, so I had no problem sharing a bit of my hard-earned for a good cause. Trouble is, I subscribe to magazines and then never read them. So, I had to go with something interesting and in the right price range. The New Republic? Not available. Sports Illustrated? Too pricey. Soldier of Fortune? No dice. Barely Legal? Ditto.
I settled on Newsweek. One year, $30, I can read it on the train. Done. I got my first issue on Tuesday and raced up the stairs of my building, wondering what funny/ironic/profound quotes they had picked out for the week, whose conservative hog Howard Fineman had most recently been smoking (Karl Rove, it turns out), and what my main man, Fareed Zakaria, had to say (on point, as usual).
But what really caught my eye was this piece of op/ed sludge, written by a guest contributor. It really must be read in full to be believed:
For the most part, my women friends and I were kids of upper-middle-class privilege, raised to believe that, with hard work and a little courage, the world was ours ... But we are now discovering the difficulty of deciding just what makes us happy in a world of innumerable options ... Scattering to our respective destinations, we were young enough to follow our crazy dreams but old enough to fend for ourselves in the real world. At a time when our lives were undergoing dramatic changes, so was America. Three months after receiving our diplomas, the Twin Towers came crashing down. We realized that, in more ways than one, the world was scarier and more complex than we'd ever imagined ... Since graduation, we've struggled to make our own happiness. It seems that having so many choices has sometimes overwhelmed us ... How can I stay with one person, at one job, in one city, when I have the world at my fingertips? ... Moving from one place to the next, bouncing from job to job, my friends and I have experienced the world, but also gotten lost in it. There have been moments of self-doubt, frantic calls cross-country.You get the idea. After reading this pile of "What's a girl to do?" twaddle, I had three questions:
1) What the fuck did I just read and why are pieces of my head splattered on the wall?
2) Where can I find this twit? Somebody needs to smack some sense in to her and hand her a one-way ticket to Addis Ababa, or some other third world shit-hole, where she can experience hardship like she's never imagined.
3) How do I get a guest columnist gig at Newsweek?
Sorry to go off on a rant, but good gracious. I want my $30 back.